The New England Patriots are holding a Super Bowl sendoff Sunday morning for the 76 health care workers who are flying on the team’s plane to Super Bowl LV in Tampa, Florida.
Patriots’ President Jonathan Kraft is expected to be joined by Pats’ captain Matthew Slater and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker at Logan International Airport in Boston at the event before the plane departs.
The “Air Kraft” recently got an extra personalized touch for the special trip. On Saturday, the Patriots posted photos to Twitter showing they had added fitting, new decals to promote the COVID-19 vaccine that read, “When it’s your turn, take the shot. Get vaccinated.”
Along with the flight to Tampa Bay and Super Bowl tickets, the health care workers will get a police escort from Gillette Stadium to the airport, a two-night hotel stay, a gift bag, spending money and more.
The Patriots posted a photo to Twitter Sunday morning showing the workers, who have all been vaccinated and come from across New England, standing on the field at Gillette Stadium, alongside Pat the Patriot.
The Patriots announced the move Tuesday, five days ahead of the game that pits the team’s greatest-ever player, Tom Brady, and his new team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, against Patrick Mahomes and the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs.
As a gesture of gratitude for their hard work through the coronavirus pandemic, Patriots owner Robert Kraft invited the health care workers from New England to fly to the Super Bowl with him as his guests.
The health care workers learned over a video call Monday that they would be flying with Kraft and his family on the team plane for the all-expenses paid trip Sunday.
Last year, during the pandemic’s first surge in the United States, Kraft offered up the plane’s services to help fly much-needed personal protective equipment he’d purchased from China to Massachusetts.
The Patriots said in a statement that the goal of the trip was both to thank health care workers for their selfless work caring for people during the pandemic while also drawing attention to the importance of vaccines.
Dozens of “health care heroes” are getting an all-expense-paid trip to the Super Bowl from New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. We talked to a few.
Kraft said in the statement that “it’s an honor for us to celebrate these healthcare workers by giving them a well-deserved break for a day and an opportunity to enjoy the Super Bowl, a reality that is only made possible because of the vaccines. We hope that in doing so, others are also encouraged to get vaccinated as they are able.”
The health care workers come from a variety of roles, according to the team. The governors of New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, Rhode Island and Connecticut each selected four of them, while the remaining 56 were picked from Massachusetts hospitals.
The NFL said it would dedicate about 7,500 total tickets to health care workers — a little more than one-third of the total attendance for the game.
Four Maine health care workers will be packing their bags to see the Super Bowl in Tampa Bay, thanks to Patriots owner Robert Kraft.